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Rest from Enemies

Words of Faith Final

Rest from Enemies

Words of Faith 10-9-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Joshua 23

    After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then old and well advanced in years, [2] summoned all Israel--their elders, leaders, judges and officials--and said to them: "I am old and well advanced in years. [3] You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. [4] Remember how I have allotted as an inheritance for your tribes all the land of the nations that remain--the nations I conquered--between the Jordan and the Great Sea in the west. [5] The Lord your God himself will drive them out of your way. He will push them out before you, and you will take possession of their land, as the Lord your God promised you.

 

       A long time had passed.  The entry into the Land seemed to be a very long time ago.  It was a time of peace and prosperity. The people of God had settled into the Promised Land in the places the Lord had designated for each tribe.  The Lord had given them rest from their enemies. There were no wars in these years. The tribes were settled in with elders, leaders, and judges. Things were going great! 

        What a remarkable phrase-- "The Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies."  Wow!  It would seem that this was the best of all times! There was prosperity and peace in the Land!  

        But it was now also time for Joshua to think about his own departure from them.  He was getting older.  He knew his time was drawing near to be with the Lord.  His final words express encouragement and warning as he ponders the future of Israel. 

        Joshua had a lot to say before leaving.  This time of peace had him worried.  There was wise advice and some dire warnings to share, but his thoughts were first rooted in a bedrock of trust in the sovereign Lord. 

       "You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you." 

        It may seem very basic, but this is the easiest thing for us to forget.  When times are more peaceful, and things are going well, it is easy for us to forget that it is the Lord who fought our battles.  It is the Lord who has given us freedom.  It is the Lord who has given us peace.  It is the Lord who won our victory.  This is easy to forget and neglect.  This was the concern of Joshua, the great leader of the Conquest.

        Joshua spoke of the future, knowing that the sovereign Lord would be with Israel.  The Lord will continue to drive enemies out of your way.  He will continue to push them out before you.  You will continue to take possession of the Land.  The promises of God are not just a thing of the past; the Lord continues to work in our future.  The words we will look at here give a warning not to forget the powerful truths.

        There is a concern about spiritual lethargy-- the tendency of our flesh to grow sleepy and lazy in the things of God.  The scriptural image is that of the disciples falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane even though asked to stay awake.  I believe this was Joshua's concern for the people of Israel. 

        In good times of peace and prosperity, it is easy to grow complacent in matters of the spirit.  It is easy to drift off into a spiritual slumber.  We can easily forget the great battles that the Lord has won for us and the great cost of our salvation.  We can easily take for granted the mighty hand of the Lord that has delivered us into great freedom and rest.

        Some have wondered recently if we only respond to God in a crisis?  Does it take a natural disaster or tragic attack to get our attention?  Does there have to be a threat before we pray?  Joshua hoped for his people that they would remember without a crisis.  Jesus called his disciples to be alert and watchful.  We need to be alert and watchful as well.

         Are you feeling a little sleepy spiritually?  Somewhat lethargic?  It is time to wake up.  He is near.

 

        Father God, keep me alert to You and Your Spirit.  Keep me tuned to Your voice and Your ways.  In the times of peace and rest that You have won for me, protect me from spiritual lethargy.  Draw me near to You in gratitude for the great victories You have won.  In Jesus' name.

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.